Hello everyone, and welcome to PT Pioneer.

My name is Tyler, and I’ll be your guide as we delve into professional health and fitness.

I aim to help people like you gain entry into the fitness industry or progress successfully if you’re already part of it.

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In this article, I’ll be tackling the Corrective Exercise Specialist Salary. I’ll break it down using the following key points:

  • Factors that influence salary
  • Corrective Exercise Specialist status in the US
  • Online Corrective Exercise and how it stacks up

With that said, let’s get right into it.

Corrective Exercise Specialist Salary

What is a Corrective Exercise Specialist?

Before we go all in, I’d like us to glance at what corrective exercise is.

I’ve gone over the definition in a full, in-depth article, but as a refresher, let’s take a quick look.

Corrective exercise, as the name suggests, is aimed at assisting individuals with improving physical function through exercise physiology and kinesiology analysis.

As a fitness specialist, you achieve this by identifying imbalances, deviations, and deficiencies in the biomechanical function of the human body, and then addressing them with the right exercise program.

Corrective exercise is useful for many, from top-level athletes to general, passive members.

Many of the principles and practices under the job description of corrective exercise overlap and coincide with physiotherapy and strength and conditioning practices.

What Factors Influence a Corrective Exercise Specialist’s Salary

Regarding income and salary, many variables influence how much you can earn as a corrective exercise specialist.

Let’s look at these factors and unpack how they influence your income odds.

1. Location

Location is probably the most influential factor when considering how much you can earn in a profession.

It’s common to have people to relocate from one area to another to score a better-paying job in their chosen line of work.

Migrant workers are among the most common international travelers; people usually follow the money.

The location has a few sub-factors to consider when it comes to location, especially within the health and fitness industry.

Population Health

Population health is an important metric for determining income prospects in healthcare or a fitness-related field.

A healthy population means one that invests in the health and fitness sector, which in turn means your prospects and opportunities are good when it comes to income.

Health, in this regard, is observed in two ways, disease prevalence and access to healthcare and wellness infrastructure.

Regarding disease prevalence, the best measure is related to metabolic disease.

That’s because metabolic disease is usually influenced by lifestyle.

Obesity prevalence is an example of a disease statistic that paints a picture of the community’s lifestyle choices in a general sense.

A high obesity rate indicates a population with poor nutritional habits and little affinity toward physical activity.

This also means a population with relatively low investment in health and fitness services like the ones you offer as a corrective exercise specialist.

On the other hand, a healthy population means one whose general habits lean towards more consciousness and investment in healthy habits and activities.

That means your services as a corrective exercise coach are more exposed to an enthusiastic market.

In this regard, your best shot at success and a lucrative outcome are to work in a location with a considerably healthy population.

A good example would be Denver, Colorado, known for being one of the fittest cities in America.

When looking at healthcare and wellness infrastructure access, you can already imagine how this would affect your salary prospects.

The more access people have to health and fitness facilities, the more you’ll have access to potential clients and customers.

This is especially true about gyms and fitness centers.

These facilities also present job opportunities since they employ qualified professionals such as corrective exercise instructors.

Population Size

Population size is a determining factor in how many client prospects you will have access to.

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The more people in the location you operate from, the better your odds of having a lucrative career.

Fitness coaching is a numbers game, so having access to many people is an optimal scenario.

When it comes to population size, you’re looking at the total number of people in a given area, such as a city or country.

However, population density is also important to consider.

Population density is the number of people per unit of physical area, usually measured as people per square mile.

Population density can be seen as more important than the total population.

That’s because being in a small area with a relatively large population (high density) gives you more opportunities than being in a large area with a relatively low population (low density).

On the flip side, densely populated areas are often inhabited by lower-income members of society, while the inverse is commonly observed with sparsely populated areas.

It’s all about striking a balance and figuring out an area’s economic makeup, which brings me to the next point.

Local Economy

The local economy plays an obvious role in factors that influence salary.

A weak economy won’t support high wages and vice versa; it’s simple enough to point out. Still, it helps to understand which aspects of the economy contribute to better-earning prospects.

Firstly, does the local economy support businesses and health and fitness industry opportunities?

It’s not uncommon to have a brimming economy that still has certain industries and sectors underrepresented.

This can be determined by the population’s health, with special attention to things like health and wellness infrastructure.

Another economic factor is the cost of living.

Earning a decent amount is one thing, but how much will you ultimately need to surrender to living expenses and taxes?

2. Credentials

Credentials are the main area of focus here at PT Pioneer, so best believe I strongly encourage optimizing your resume regarding qualifications.

When it comes to corrective exercise, credentials are key. Other areas of health and fitness practice don’t have such a stringent requirement for certification, although I highly recommend you get qualified.

However, when it comes to corrective exercise, you must be considered knowledgeable before even thinking about instructing.

That’s because you are engaging with a potential safety risk.

Your clients aren’t simply trying to add muscle or lose weight; they want to fix their body mechanics.

Think of it this way, it’s easy enough to give a car a new paint job, but if you want t increase its performance, you’ll need a deep understanding of automotive mechanics.

In this sense, your credentials are as much an indication to your clients as they are to yourself.

Credentials also offer different values based on their level.

A college degree certainly holds more weight than a certification or diploma.

And within higher learning, college or university degrees have a hierarchy of value.

A bachelor’s degree holds less value than a master’s degree, which in turn holds less value than a Ph.D.

Obtaining a degree in a sports medicine or exercise science-related field can boost your credibility with peers and clients.

Just make sure to carefully weigh out your options before making the jump into a degree program.

The time and financial investment required are hefty, so make sure it’s your best choice. 

3. Level of Experience

Your years of experience greatly affect how much you can fairly charge your clients.

This is purely based on the value of your expertise and the weight of your reputation.

You will gain experience, knowledge, and competence while practicing as a corrective exercise specialist.

Your ability to conduct assessments and implement effective corrective protocols will be honed as you progress through your career.

You can place a premium on this, but that, of course, depends on the quality of your experience.

What I mean by that is you must have a decent track record. No use having stacks of time in the game when poor reviews and controversies mire your career.

Reaping the benefits of your years of experience requires managing your reputation and keeping a consistent account through a good service track record.

But how much experience does it take to become a top earner?

Well, there’s no standard to how long, but a good rule of thumb is once you pass the 5-year mark, you should be looking at boosting your value, and after a decade, you can easily leverage that amount of time for top-tier premiums.

4. Job Style

Job style plays an important role in determining income prospects.

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But what do I mean by “job style”?

I mean the method or status in which you function as a professional.

I will address three job styles so you know what you’re dealing with.

These are:

  • Employment
  • Freelancing
  • Self-employment/business ownership

Employment is the most common, tried and tested job style.

As an employee, you fill out a specific role within a company’s structure.

In the context of fitness or corrective exercise, your job title ranges from an entry-level gym trainer to a managerial or executive role in the fitness business.

Where you land determines how much you make, which will often hinge on your credentials and experience.

Employment is stable and ensures a steady income with benefits in most cases.

Employment also limits your administrative responsibility on the job, whether full-time or part-time.

You only need to worry about showing up and doing a good job.

However, the drawback with employment is that starting salaries often sit relatively low compared to other forms of professional engagement. 

There are potentials for lucrative income opportunities through promotion, raises, and bonuses, but this will never be your call to make.

Freelancing is another method of operating as a professional.

In this case, you are simply renting out your time and labor on a first-come, first-serve, highest-bidder basis.

As a freelancer, you are technically unemployed since you have no defined job status or position.

Freelancing offers immense freedom of choice and the ability to implement your services and pricing as you see fit.

This allows for the opportunity of a lucrative income along with great job satisfaction.

One disadvantage of freelancing is that you will shoulder all administrative burdens, especially when starting.

That means your strict management will require all legal, financial, and operational responsibilities.

At the same time, being a freelancer means such responsibilities won’t be as hefty as they would be within a company structure.

You also don’t have a stable and reliable income, especially in the beginning.

Lastly, let’s look at being self-employed.

Many people mischaracterize freelancing as self-employment, but the two are quite different.

Self-employment is the same as regular employment: you are the job creator, the company owner, and essentially your boss.

Self-employment works on the premise that you have established a brand or business, which you then work towards growing and shaping while earning a living.

This can be considered the best of both worlds when looking at employment and freelancing, but it can also be the worst.

It can be the best in that you earn a steady income, with possible benefits as you would as an employee, while also being in control of all professional decisions such as pricing and base salary as you would in freelance land.

It can be the worst since the drawbacks of both employment and freelancing become just as amplified.

How Much Does A Certified Corrective Exercise Specialist Make in America?

Many of you reading this are from the United States, which means your fitness career will likely be based in America.

So regarding salary, US-based corrective exercise specialists take home an average of $53,841 per year.

That isn’t a pot of gold by any means and is considerably lower than the average earnings for personal trainers, which are around $62k a year, according to salary.com.

With that in mind, I felt it necessary to break down salary averages state by state to give you a better understanding of the industry.

StateAbbrState CapitalAverage Salary
AlabamaALMontgomery$45,707
AlaskaAKJuneau$53,691
ArizonaAZPhoenix$47,688
ArkansasARLittle Rock$43,670
CaliforniaCASacramento$54,598
ColoradoCODenver$49,453
ConnecticutCTHartford$54,840
DelawareDEDover$51,422
DCDCWashington DC$53,739
FloridaFLTallahassee$46,996
GeorgiaGAAtlanta$47,753
HawaiiHIHonolulu$55,707
IdahoIDBoise$50,047
IllinoisILSpringfield$57,012
IndianaINIndianapolis$52,289
IowaIADes Moines$46,620
KansasKSTopeka$50,242
KentuckyKYFrankfort$52,552
LouisianaLABaton Rouge$47,614
MaineMEAugusta$52,520
MarylandMDAnnapolis$55,245
MassachusettsMABoston$60,549
MichiganMILansing$54,659
MinnesotaMNSt. Paul$57,255
MississippiMSJackson$47,775
MissouriMOJefferson City$51,413
MontanaMTHelena$45,222
NebraskaNELincoln$50,563
NevadaNVCarson City$54,896
New HampshireNHConcord$57,394
New JerseyNJTrenton$64,649
New MexicoNMSanta Fe$50,784
New YorkNYAlbany$64,649
North CarolinaNCRaleigh$49,016
North DakotaNDBismarck$51,386
OhioOHColumbus$53,192
OklahomaOKOklahoma City$49,092
OregonORSalem$52,917
PennsylvaniaPAHarrisburg$57,566
Rhode IslandRIProvidence$56,426
South CarolinaSCColumbia$51,034
South DakotaSDPierre$48,243
TennesseeTNNashville$49,307
TexasTXAustin$52,853
UtahUTSalt Lake City$51,070
VermontVTMontpelier$52,434
VirginiaVARichmond$50,602
WashingtonWAOlympia$54,301
West VirginiaWVCharleston$48,952
WisconsinWIMadison$52,657
WyomingWYCheyenne$43,875

Having looked at this table, we can see that the salary range averages vary quite widely.

The top 3 states are  New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts.

Returning to the national average of $53k, you might wonder why it’s so low.

After all, corrective exercise is a specialist field, yet a generalist practice such as being a certified personal trainer garners a higher average salary.

I boil it down to simple economics.

The thing is, the demand for personal trainers is much higher than the demand for corrective exercise specialists.

With considerably lower demand, the earning prospect will naturally show a correlation.

So is there even a point to specializing as a corrective exercise coach?

Sure, there is, but the best way to approach working in corrective exercise is as an additional or supplementary service to existing generalist practice.

For instance. If you are a certified fitness instructor or PT, having corrective exercise under your belt might be an asset to your standing business model.

Being a PT specializing in corrective exercise might allow you to tap into a higher income than being exclusive to either field.

Online Corrective Exercise Coaching

As with most industries, the digital marketplace is rapidly taking over fitness.

For a good reason, online personal training has steadily become a hot sector in the health and wellness industry.

Financial transactions, the quality and frequency of media content, and the access, availability, and affordability of reliable Internet have all improved in leaps and bounds.

This has opened up many innovations that make implementing fitness online viable and essential.

But corrective exercise is a bit different.

The whole point is to provide hands-on, real-time guidance to address issues that may appear subtle and understated without proper scrutiny and monitoring.

Scrutiny and monitoring that isn’t quite possible through the remote interface of online coaching.

But you can make it work to a certain extent.

One way is to create information products that educate clients and customers on potential biomechanical deficiencies with solutions and protocols to help remedy them.

This, of course, isn’t the ultimate ideal, but the beauty of online fitness is that you can supplement your in-person activities.

Conclusion

Corrective exercise is not the most lucrative field in professional fitness; however, as a specialization, it can be leveraged as an added-value service to a general business model.

It’s one of the best ways to enjoy a sense of reward and purpose since you’re intrinsically helping people improve their lives.

I hope you enjoyed this article.

If you have any questions, please get in touch with me in the comment section below.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a corrective exercise specialist do?

A corrective exercise specialist is a health and fitness professional who is qualified and tasked with assisting people in discovering and addressing imbalances, deviations, and deficiencies in their physical functionality.

This includes addressing areas of weakness such as underworked muscle groups, deviations such as postural deviations, imbalances, and compensations in muscle pairs, and working to re-establish normal function post-trauma (rehab) using a comprehensive fitness program.

How do I become a corrective exercise specialist?

The first important step in becoming a corrective exercise specialist is to have a passion for fitness and exercise science.

That might seem obvious as it goes for any profession. Still, corrective exercise is very detail-oriented, so you’ll need a high degree of discernment and patience to be an effective and reliable specialist.

However, your assessment and identification of problem areas, as well as your ability to administer the right protocols, all hinge on your depth with the details, something that only a passionate approach can afford you.

Other than that, it’s all about gaining the correct qualifications.

How much do corrective exercise specialists make per year?

In the US, a corrective exercise specialist’s income can average around $53,841 per year.

As mentioned in this article, this is considerably lower than the average income of a certified fitness trainer in the States.

This can be attributed to the fact that corrective exercise specialists don’t attract as much demand as other sectors in the health and fitness industry, despite being skilled in a highly specialized field.

That is why the average income of a corrective exercise instructor is about 10k lower than that of a PT and other related jobs.

What is the best corrective exercise specialist certification?

Most corrective exercise certifications from reputable accredited certifying agencies will suffice.

That is any cert agency with an NCCA or DEAC seal of approval.

My top recommendation for a corrective exercise certification is the NASM CES.

The reason is that NASM is geared towards promoting the practice of corrective exercise as part of their institutional mission, so it makes sense to conclude that their corrective exercise cert would exemplify this even further.

Can a corrective exercise specialist help with injuries?

Yes, they can, since injury is a disruption in the normal biomechanical functions of the body, and a corrective exercise specialist is tasked with rectifying disruptions.

It is, however, important to draw a line between corrective exercise and physiotherapy.

Physical therapy is how an injury is identified, its effects and severity are diagnosed, and what prescribed methods are recommended for rehabilitation.

Corrective exercise takes data from a physical therapist and implements the rehab program allowing the patient/client to achieve as much of a degree of normal function as possible.

References

  1. “Exercise Physiologist Salary Calculator.” Salary.com, https://www.salary.com/tools/salary-calculator/exercise-physiologist.
  2. “Corrective Exercise Specialist Salary.” ZipRecruiter, https://www.ziprecruiter.com/Salaries/Corrective-Exercise-Specialist-Salary.
  3. “Exercise Specialist Hourly Rate.” PayScale, https://www.payscale.com/research/US/Job=Exercise_Specialist/Hourly_Rate.
  4. “Corrective Exercise Specialist Program.” American Council on Exercise (ACE), https://www.acefitness.org/fitness-certifications/specialty-certifications/corrective-exercise.aspx.
  5. “Corrective Exercise Specialist Jobs in Minneapolis.” Lensa, https://lensa.com/corrective-exercise-specialist-jobs/minneapolis/jd/885baea39d687f9bcabe49f4dfb778cc.
  6. “How to Become an Exercise Specialist.” Salary.com, https://www.salary.com/articles/how-to-become/how-to-become-an-exercise-specialist.
Tyler Read - Certified Personal Trainer with PTPioneer

Tyler Read


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